The Philippine Army (PA) and their U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) counterparts conducted a shoulder-to-shoulder “Balikatan” air assault exercise in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija from April 4 to 5, 2022.
The air assault exercise—spearheaded by PA and USARPAC (jointly called the Combined Army Forces or CARFOR)—was highlighted by the seizure of multiple objectives through the company-level combined air assault launched by the PA 1st Brigade Combat Team and USARPAC’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
The drill tested the interoperability of both armies in a holistic exercise that incorporated elements of combined joint special operations forces reconnaissance; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE); counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED); site exploitation; and military operations on urban terrain (MOUT).
Another highlight of the exercise is the nighttime sling load training where soldiers rigged up a piece of equipment onto all-weather, medium-lift Chinook and Black Hawk choppers using sling sets, cargo nets, and other specially designed equipment. Sling loading equipment allows units to avoid obstacles that may hinder them from promptly reaching their target destination. The technique is also used to reach areas where the use of convoys is impractical or unfeasible.
Balikatan, an annual combined and joint exercise hosted by Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Indo Pacific Command, will culminate on April 9, 2022.